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Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2005 Oct;3(10 Suppl 2):S125-31.

Treatment of recurrent hepatitis C in liver transplant recipients.

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Division of Gastroenterology, University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94143-0538, USA.


The course of hepatitis C is accelerated after transplantation, with an average of 25% of patients developing cirrhosis within 5 years of transplantation. Consequently, the 5- and 10-year graft survival rates in hepatitis C virus (HCV)-infected patients are significantly lower than in HCV-uninfected patients. Therapeutic interventions to prevent HCV recurrence and/or alter the rate of disease progression after transplantation are desirable. Prophylactic therapy in the form of polyclonal HCV antibodies has not been effective at prevention of HCV re-infection, but one study suggests that higher-dose therapy may modify the severity of early disease recurrence. Pre-emptive antiviral therapy has modest efficacy and generally is poorly tolerated. Live donor liver transplant recipients and recipients with low model of end-stage liver disease scores pretransplantation may tolerate pre-emptive therapy best. The treatment of recurrent established disease with a combination of interferon and ribavirin has been the mainstay of management. Similar to pre-emptive therapy, tolerance is reduced and dose reductions are frequent. The sustained virologic response rates are less than 45% in studies to date. Histologic and biochemical improvements generally are more frequent than virologic responses. Overall, the treatment of HCV disease in transplant recipients leaves much to be desired and there is an urgent need of new HCV therapies in this patient population.

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